Welcome back, mes amis, to the continuing saga of Voyager. In this week’s mock episode—the third in our series—we will be exploring the events of the second half of Part Six of the book: Edinburgh. Needless to say, this article is for people who have read Voyager and don’t mind spoilers. Read Mock One and Mock Two first.
Okay, so last week’s episode introduced us to some major characters, including Mr. Willoughby (AKA: Yi Tien Cho, “Leans Against Heaven”), and I was surprised to hear how many of you wanted to cut this guy out of the storyline altogether. I agree, there are some segues in this book, especially later on, that have to do with Mr. Willoughby which kind of stop the story dead in its tracks. When we get to those parts, I’ll probably recommend some creative editing. But cut him out altogether? Mmm, pretty sure that wouldn’t work. Again, we’ll talk about why in later episodes.
Now the Edinburgh section is one of the longest in Voyager. It starts 27% of the way through the book and ends 43% of the way through. So it’s seriously like 144 pages long. For my money, I would have made it shorter. As my longtime readers know, I don’t have a problem calling Diana out for being too long-winded at times. (But of course, taste is subjective. For everyone who agreed with me about Dragonfly dragging like a witch’s ass for the first half, someone else told me to shove it. Vive la différence!)
So why is Edinburgh so long? Well, it has a lot of ground to cover, of course. Diana sets up a lot of things that pay off later in the story, but she also just lets her characters hang out a bit. Remember, Jamie and Claire have been separated for 20 years. They have a lot of snuggling to catch up on. And while that’s all charming and lovely, it doesn’t exactly propel the story forward in the way television needs to do. So this week, we’re going to cover all the crucial events of the last half of “Edinburgh,” while finding creative ways to keep the action a’flowing.
Ready? Let’s go:
TITLE: SMUGGLER’S MOON
THEME: Destruction. Jamie’s life as a printer with a secret identity as a smuggler has become unsustainable and must be torn down in order to build a new life together with Claire. Remember, the over-arching theme of Voyager is Freedom. And sometimes freedom can only be achieved by letting go.
BOOK CHAPTERS COVERED:
The second half of “Edinburgh”:
Ian Junior setting the print shop on fire and fearing that he has killed the exciseman; the introduction of the Reverend Campbell and his crazy sister; the Smuggler’s Moon episode of trying to trick the excisemen and complete the smuggling of the rum.
COLD OPEN: FLASHBACK, EDINBURGH, ABOUT SEVEN YEARS AGO:
Jamie arrives in Edinburgh straight from his time at Helwater. He takes a tour of an empty building, agreeing to buy it. The realtor asks what he wants it for. “A printing press,” is the answer.
Jamie is setting type when a man walks in. This is TOM GAGE. Tom calls Jamie out on the fact that he knows the printing press is a cover; that Jamie really makes his money in other ways. But Tom isn’t here to blackmail Jamie. He’s here to make him an offer: Tom knows Jamie is a Scottish loyalist, and now he can use the press to help the cause by printing anti-British pamphlets.
“Sounds like sedition,” Jamie says.
“When has that ever stopped you?” Tom asks. Tom picks up three type-set pieces and hands them to Jamie. They read: QED.
“QED?” Jamie reads. “Quod erat demonstrandum”?
“That which shall be proven,” Tom responds.
“And what will this prove?” Jamie asks.
“That the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Cut to that same print shop, now on fire.
Jamie and Claire watch helplessly as the “fire truck” arrives, although the buckets of water they pass down the queue to each other don’t make much of a dent. Ian Sr. is there and he suddenly screams: “Ian!”
Looking up, Jamie and Claire see Ian Jr.’s thin frame, trapped by the flames on the upper level.
What follows is a pretty impressive action sequence in which Jamie scales the walls of the neighboring chocolate shop, leaps from the shop’s roof to the top of the press and rescues Ian Jr. by repelling with his body down a rope that Ian Sr. throws him.
For those of us who were waiting for some swashbuckling this season, et voilà.
Okay, so Ian Jr. is saved, though pretty well scorched, and we cut back to…
Where Ian Sr. is pretty pissed off to learn that Jamie not only knew where Ian Jr. was (remember, he was looking for him in the last episode), but that he was actually allowing his son to work with him in his highly-dangerous occupations.
They all grill Ian Jr. on what the hell happened in the print shop, and Jr. tells them that he was trailing a man with a ponytail all day from tavern to tavern; he overheard the man say he was looking for “Jamie Fraser or Jamie Roy.” This is a big red flag for Jamie, as heretofore nobody had known that his two very separate identities were actually the same person. Ian trailed the man back to the print shop, where he knew Jamie had thousands of seditious pamphlets lying around, waiting to be picked up the next day. Without having time to move them, he had elected to set them on fire, not realizing that the powder from the ink wells would catch and burn the whole place down.
After a fight, Ian Sr. retires to a nearby inn, but Ian Jr. insists on staying behind. Claire retires to the bed, but she wakes in the night to hear Ian Jr. crying. Jamie is comforting him in whispers.
Ian fears that he killed the exciseman in the fire, and that he will go to hell for murder. (Remember, the Frasers are Catholics, or “Papists,” as they were called then.) Jamie reassures his nephew that murder in self-defense is not a sin. But he tells Ian to take out his rosary.
Then we get this bit of dialogue from the book, which—if you ask me—is so perfectly written that I would just transcribe it at this point:
Claire, pretending to be asleep, hears Jamie’s words, her hand closing around something she had kept hidden. She kisses it now. It is a picture of Brianna. Her eyes close and she tries to sleep.
Now we’re going to expedite some things that happen in the book a bit, while keeping our characters a little more proactive. In the book, Claire goes to Haugh’s apothecary for no particular reason and just happens to meet a customer named Reverend Campbell who just happens to invite her to his house to treat his catatonic sister Margaret who just happens to play a huge role in the story in about 8 gazillion pages when we get to Jamaica where the Campbells just happen to be going.
I should probably tell you something about myself at this point: I HATE coincidences. They never sit right with me and I try to avoid them as much as possible in my own writing. So I’m going to incorporate some of the “ancient Chinese secret” mysticism that Willoughby represents in this book while also giving Claire a more compelling reason to take an interest in the Campbells. Here’s my version of the scene:
Claire and Willoughby (who has been sent as protection) enter the apothecary looking for healing herbs for Ian Jr.’s burns. While they engage in some East vs. West discussion of which herbs work best, they notice the harried young clerk overwhelmed by the demands of Mr. Campbell, who wants something stronger for his zombied-out sister. Campbell is crude and dismissive, clearly a least-favorite customer.
Willoughby overhears Campbell describe her condition: “She just stares at nothing for a week or more. Nothing can wake her. Then suddenly she wakes up, screaming. And when she stops, she has no memory of the missing time.”
Claire begins suggesting possible diagnoses: epilepsy, concussion. But Willoughby shakes his head. “She is in between,” he says.
“In between what?” Claire asks.
“In between our world… and what lies beyond.”
Willoughby suggests to Claire that they treat the sister, and the two of them accompany Campbell back to his house.
Jamie approaches the table of PERCIVAL TURNER, an aging gout-ridden lush trying to drink away his pain. (In the book, Jamie is approached by Turner’s man, but we’re going to make Jamie more proactive here.) They begin a conversation which is clearly code:
Jamie: Lovely weather. Was thinking of taking a trip up north tomorrow.
Turner: Oh, I wouldn’t recommend that. Weather set to take a turn for the worst tomorrow. I would stay home if I were you.
Jamie: Perhaps the next day then? I could head further up the coast?
Turner: I would stay clear of any plans until Tuesday at the earliest. Storm should blow over.
Jamie: I see. Four days’ time then?
Turner: That would be best.
Jamie leaves Turner some money to buy the next round. Turner coughs, and Jamie leaves a bit more.
Outside, Jamie and Fergus walk and talk, with Jamie explaining that the first two rendezvous points have been exposed, and they’ll have to meet the French ship with the rum from cousin Jared at the third location.
REVEREND CAMPBELL’S HOUSE
Claire examines Margaret Campbell while Willoughby waits by the door—not invited into a respectable house. She talks to Margaret’s caretaker Nellie Cowden, who explains what happened to Margaret: She was in love with a Jacobite soldier. Her family, staunch loyalists to the Crown, disapproved, so Margaret snuck out one night, after the Battle of Falkirk, to meet her lover. Either she was rebuked when she found him, or got there too late and found him already dead at Culloden, but in any event, she turned back. On the road home, she was attacked, gang raped, and left for dead by British soldiers.
Her brother rescued her and brought her home, but she was never normal again.
Nellie explains that she was hired to accompany the Campbells on their humanitarian mission to Jamaica. They leave in just a few weeks.
Nellie goes to get them some tea, and Willoughby comes into the room. Claire says it’s time to go, that there’s nothing she can do for this young woman and she wants to get the medicine to young Ian. But Willoughby isn’t ready yet. He crouches down, searching Margaret’s eyes.
“What are you looking at?” Claire whispers.
“I always wanted to know,” Willoughby explains.
“Know what?” Claire is anxious; Nellie might come back.
“What’s on the other side.”
Willoughby speaks to Margaret in Chinese. There is no response. He takes out a needle, carefully wrapped in papyrus. It is an acupuncture needle. He sticks one in Margaret’s neck, takes another and sticks it in the tendon of her lower left wrist. Claire is freaking out, looking towards the kitchen.
“What are you doing?” she whispers. “We need to get out of here. We need to get back to Jamie.”
At the word “Jamie,” Margaret’s eyes shoot open. Is it the acupuncture needles? The name?
“Jamie,” Margaret repeats, as though talking to a ghost.
And then, without warning, Margaret Campbell begins to SCREAM.
The whole gang arrives at the third rendezvous point to find an empty, deserted building that was once an inn.
“Damn,” Jamie says. He explains that he had intended to leave Claire and Ian Jr. at this inn while he and his men, including Fergus and Willoughby, handled the rendezvous with the French smuggling ship which was bringing in Jamie’s rum. Now, with nowhere to leave them, he reluctantly agrees to let them camp out on the cliffside while he and his men do their business.
The scene from here unravels pretty much as in the book. Long story short: the ship pulls into harbor, floating nearer to the shore, as Claire, Jamie and Ian Jr. crouch down and watch. Willoughby’s job is to signal to the ship as it approaches with a “dark lantern”—a lantern with a sliding door that allows him to pulsate the light as a signal.
But at the last minute, they realize they have been set up. Suddenly, men jump out from behind bushes. They are excisemen (government tax collectors), who have been tipped off to the drop. Some screaming and chaos from the beach ensues as Jamie shoots out Willoughby’s lantern, causing the beach to be enveloped in darkness. But the flame catches on one of the exciseman’s sleeves and he starts screaming.
Jamie runs to save his men while Claire and Ian Jr. overhear some of the men discussing the prize money involved in catching Jamie, and how they’re supposed to “meet back up at the abbey” after they get him.
Claire sends Ian Jr. running down the road to the abbey to warn Jamie and his men before they get there. She then starts walking plainly down the middle of the road, hoping to serve as decoy and distract the excisemen. But she doesn’t get very far.
She is grabbed by Fergus (whose finger she almost bites off before she realizes it’s him), and soon Jamie and his men follow suit. They are about to head to the abbey to fetch Ian Jr., but quickly find him hiding behind a nearby bush.
The men are safe, but the drop-off is busted. The cargo is lost. No money will be made. Jamie hands his men a few coins from his own pocket to thank them for their troubles. And that’s when they see it:
A body. Hanging from a tree. His eyes pop out, his tongue hangs from parched lips. Jamie scoops up a paper under the body. “A warrant,” he says. “Thomas Oakie was his name.”
“Who would do something like this?” Claire asks.
“Me,” Jamie responds. “At least, that’s what they’ll tell everyone. Red Jamie strikes again.”
Claire nods, realizing that Jamie’s smuggling career might have just come careening to a stop. “Where to now?” she asks.
“Only one place left to go,” he answers. “Home.”
END OF EPISODE
Okay, that’s it—my best guess as to episode three. Pretty fun stuff here, and still setting up some cool things that will be coming a bit later in the season.
Next week, we head back to Lallybroch, and personally, “I canna wait!”
This article has been the third in a 13-part series. To read part 4, click here: Voyager: “Mock Four”
Don’t miss our must-read list for July.
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry